Which Homesteading Skills Do I Need To Know?
Although homesteading skills are certainly not a new concept, the ideas and concepts of urban homesteading has started to gain traction with both the young and the urban population. In the past, homesteaders spent years undertaking backbreaking tasks of plowing, tilling and harvesting farms carved out of complete wilderness. They stayed away from modern day amenities and tools.
In this fast-paced technology driven world, the idea of living life at a slow and relaxing pace has started to gain popularity and acceptance. Rising inflation, over-dependence on technology, shortage of resources, pesticides ridden fruits and vegetables, and not-a-moment-to-catch-my-breath lifestyle have pushed a number of people into looking at homesteading as a viable lifestyle.
Although, present day homesteaders too undertake physically exhaustive tasks, they are, nevertheless, not as grueling as the olden-day tasks. But, let this not fool you as homesteading — present or past — is taxing if you do not have the right aptitude to live your life without a number of so-called ‘basic’ amenities that we take for granted.
A large number of people are attracted towards homesteading because it helps keep unhealthy and harmful chemicals out of the food chain. Turning to gardening is the only way to ensure that each and every one of us has access to wholesome and less-contaminated food. Moreover, people have gone further and have ensured that chemicals do not find their way into their personal lives as well. With every action they take, homesteaders make sure that they do not harm themselves, their co-beings, the Earth and the future generations.
Call it what you may — green movement, eco conscious or going green — the basic idea that defines homesteading is self-sufficiency and environmental responsibility. Homesteading, as difficult and backbreaking it might seem initially, is the first step towards a happier, healthier and satisfying lifestyle.
Urban homesteading is not a new concept or an idea; in fact, homesteading is as old as the mountains. Before people started buying bread and eggs from stores, everyone raised poultry in their backyards and baked bread at their homes. Homesteading is an ancient concept; however, urban homesteading has revived the old techniques of self-sufficiency and adapted them to suit the urban dwellers’ needs.
Urban homesteading is not a single concept; it is a collection of various techniques and practices. It includes growing vegetables and fruits, raising animals, preserving food, making bread, cheese and yogurt at home, spinning and knitting, making cleaning products, using solar and wind energy, conserving water and making fertilizers and compost.
The one concept that holds urban and rural homesteading is the idea of providing for self, resisting the temptation to binge consumption, consuming products made at home, creating products rather than purchasing mass-produced products from stores.
If you want to live a self-sufficient life, homesteading is a must for you. Homesteading is branded by subsistence farming, home conservation of foodstuffs and it may in certain instances involve a minor production of clothing, fabrics and craft-work for home use or sale. Homesteading generally makes a distinction from rural commune livelihood by isolation, socially or physically of the farm.
The usage of this term, in the United States of America, dates way back to the Homestead Act of 1862 and probably even before the 19th century. Self-sufficiency movements in the 20th century began to use the concept to city and suburban locations known as urban homesteading. It incorporates small sustainable farming and homemaking.
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In homesteading, government and social support coordination are frequently given a wide berth to favor self-reliance and kith and kin deprivation, so as to maximize self-reliance and self-determination. The degree of autonomy happens along a spectrum, with a lot of homesteaders producing foodstuffs or trades to fascinate high-end niche consumers in order to cover financial requirements. Some homesteaders turn in to this lifestyle following fruitful careers which make available the funding for electricity, generators, land, farm equipment, housing, solar panels and taxes.
Contemporary government rules in the form of structure codes, food welfare programs, zoning guidelines, minimum salary and social security for seasonal labor force. And town committee limits on landscaping and animal custody has improved the marginal expense of home production of sustenance. Combined with the late rewards of forming a viable farming site, this increases the hardship of establishing an independent homestead from the ground, particularly for those of meager income.
Actual monetary savings from implementing a homesteading existence appear most strongly related to inferior material subsistence standards and upkeep of purchased means such as foodstuff, electricity, water and fertilizer rather than decrease costs of existence. Economies of measure in modern farming and opportunity cost of physical labor inhibit home-raised food items from being a cost-effective choice.
Many homesteaders however, show deep approval with their standard of existence and feel that their way of living is healthier and better rewarding than other conventional forms of living. Below is a partial listing of homesteading abilities that hopefully may inspire new homesteaders to study. This is highly recommended for young people who want to dare finding a new approach to life. Each skill that you acquire will be a step nearer to a life of better self-reliance and autonomy.
Fundamental homesteading skills consist of learning how to:
- Bake bread;
- Butcher small livestock such as chicken and rabbits;
- Caponize a chicken;
- Choose a location for a vegetable garden or orchard;
- Cook 10 basic meals from scratch on a cook stove;
- Cut and glaze glass;
- Determine an animal’s age by its teeth;
- Dig and properly use a shallow well;
- Do basic sewing and home canning and food preservation;
- Dub a chicken;
- Dye cloth or yarn from plants;
- Entertain yourself and live without electronic media;
- Fillet and clean a fish;
- Graft baby animals onto a foster-mother;
- Grind wheat into flour;
- Grow a vegetable plant and everyday kitchen herbs;
- Haggle like a horse trader;
- Hand thresh and winnow oats, wheat and other small grains;
- Hang clothes on a clothesline;
- Hatch out chicken, duck or other poultry eggs;
- Know the differences between trees and the unique properties of various types of wood; how and when to use hybrid seeds; how and when to prune grapes and fruit trees; when winter is over; and healthy plants and animals from those which are not healthy;
- Lay basic brick or build a stone wall;
- Learn when it is more economical to buy something ready-made or when to make it yourself along with basic plumbing and how to sweat copper pipes and joints;
- Light a fire both indoors and outdoors;
- Live within your financial means;
- Make hard or soft cheese; butter; sausage; paper and ink; candles; soap from wood ashes and animal fat; fire starters from pine-cones or corn cobs; make and use a hot bed or cold frame; and long-term plans for the future such as plan for an orchard or a livestock breeding program;
- Create your own wine;
- Manage human urine and feces without plumbing;
- Pasteurize milk;
- Plant a tree;
- Properly use a handsaw, measuring tape; hammer & nails, wire cutters and screw driver;
- Read the weather, an almanac, the moon and the stars;
- Recognize your own mental and physical skill limits;
- Refinish furniture;
- Reload ammunition;
- Safely use a chainsaw;
- Save open pollinated seeds;
- Put bait traps for unwanted vermin and predators;
- Sew your own underwear;
- Sharpen any edge tool such as a chisel, knife, hoe or axe;
- Spin wool, flax or cotton into yarn or thread with a drop spindle or on a spinning wheel;
- Swap, network and barter with like-minded people;
- Tell the time of day by the sun;
- Thaw out frozen pipes without busting them;
- Use a hoe, garden shovel or spade without hurting your back, a wash tub, washboard and hand wringer; a non-electric lighting; a treadle sewing machine; a scythe; a pressure cooker; a wood stove and how to bank a fire; electric netting or fencing; and a pressure tank garden sprayer, an awl and do basic leather repair;
- Weave cloth and a basket; and,
- Witch for water with a bend metal hanger or forked branch.
These skills are but a few of the original homesteading skills that a person should possess. The focus herein is on urban homesteading which refers to a household that produces for consumption a significant portion of their food in the form of vegetables, fruits and livestock.
This is typically to link with the desire of the family in the said household to live in an ecologically conscious way. Urban homesteading, also called hobby farming or backyard homesteading highlights:
- Community trading;
- Line drying of clothes;
- Growing fruits, culinary plants, vegetables and medicinal plants;
- Homes with gardens, not lawns;
- Production and preservation of food and products for home use;
- Rainwater harvesting and usage;
- Raising chickens, rabbits, worms, goats, fish or bees;
- Self-sufficient lifestyle through re-using, ending and recycling things; and
- Use of alternative power sources and means of transport.
- Grow your own fruits and vegetables.
- Raise farm animals for food
- Use alternative sources of energy — renewable energy
- Rethink transportation by using bicycles or walking to work
- Make efforts to reduce waste and also repurposed waste
- Rainwater harvesting
- Do your housework yourself
- Learn to knit, mend, do repairs and learn using basic tools and techniques
- Make food at home such as cheese, bread and yogurt
Check out our category for Beekeeping.
Where to learn more about homesteading?
There are many trusted resources for you to start:
- Homesteading videos
- Homesteading classes
- Urban homesteading books and homesteading magazines
- Homesteading Youtube
- Homesteading websites
Originally posted 2020-06-21 21:06:08.